Sometimes companies need help from an outside source to do the right thing about a self-inflicted controversy. For game show Wheel of Fortune, call the solution to their corporate emergency the crisis version of roadside assistance.
Earlier this week, GoodHousing.com reported that, “Wheel of Fortune fans are outraged after a small detail caused one player to lose out big.
‘A Minor Technicality’
“On Tuesday, Wheel of Fortune contestant Charlene Rubush missed out on winning [an Audi Q3] due to what viewers considered to be a minor technicality.
“It began when Charlene entered the bonus round after winning $16,500. During the ‘What Are You Doing?’ category, Charlene’s initial guess was ‘choosing the right card.’ Quickly, Charlene paused and realized the one-word difference and changed her guess to ‘choosing the right word.’
“Though this was correct, the length of time it took Charlene to change answers resulted in her losing the category and bonus prize.”
Host Pat Sajak told Rubush,” You know, this one’s tough, because you said all the right words, including the word ‘word’ but, as you know, it’s gotta be more or less continuous.”
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“We’ll allow for a little pause, but not four or five seconds. I’m sorry. You did a good job in getting it, but we can’t give you the prize, and it was the Audi,” he said.
According to Newsweek, “Viewers took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction at the decision, with former Jeopardy! champ Alex Jacob tweeting: “Come on @WheelofFortune, the woman literally chose the right word. Give her the car.”
“Wheel of Fortune, you just lost a viewer,” Twitter user @TalinOrfaliGhaz wrote. “‘I am choosing the right word’ to never watch this show again.”
The Twitter hashtag #GiveHerTheQ3 started to gain momentum.
Audi To The Rescue
Fortunately for the game show and Rubush, Audi stepped up and did the right thing.
“You’re a winner in our eyes Charlene,” the company tweeted. “Now, let’s get you a prize. Time to #GiveHerTheQ3.”
Audi confirmed the car giveaway in a statement to Newsweek, saying the car will be gifted to Rubush.
“[We] saw Charlene’s Wheel of Fortune episode on Monday and were collectively disappointed that she missed out on the opportunity to take home an Audi Q3 due to a technicality,” the company said.
Advice For Business Leaders
- Don’t wait to do the right thing about a crisis—especially one you created.
- Find ways to do the right thing—even if you have to bend the rules a bit to make it happen—but only if it is appropriate and possible to do so.
- Consider the potential consequences of every decision you make about dealing with a crisis. Will it make things better—or worse? If it will make things worse, will it be worth the price?
- Before you are confronted by a crisis, decide if, how or when your organization would bend to the pressure imposed by others to address or resolve a crisis.
- After every crisis, carefully review any policies, procedures or protocols that may have caused or contributed to it and take steps to prevent the same crisis from happening again.
Wheel Of Furtne Not Alone
Wheel of Fortune was not the only game show to have a self-inflicted crisis in 2021.
Earlier this year, Jeopardy!, whose long-time host Alex Trebek died in November 2020, underwent a lengthy process of auditioning, vetting and selecting guest and permanent hosts. The process was not without its controversies and attention-getting headlines—and is not over yet.